Reaping The Benefits of a New Powder Line
Posted on Friday, November 1, 2013
Ohio manufacturer of elevation,
lighting and security products—
also a contract manufacturer
and powder coating service for
a leading agricultural
needed to accelerate
its color changes and
and productivity. An
upgrade to the latest
powder coating technology
fit the bill.
Edited by Sharon Spielman
When the coating process
became a source of inefficiency
at century-old manufacturer
Will-Burt, Orrville, Ohio,
the company unearthed a solution
with an upgrade to its finishing line.
The company transformed its finishing
line from a simple, two manual-gun,
spray-to-waste powder coating system
into a sophisticated, world-class operation
that produces Class-A finishes.
“The coating process was becoming a
bottleneck for us,” explains Jamie Reynolds,
paint line supervisor for Will-Burt.
“We had been using a system that was
in place since 1996, when we made the
leap from liquid to powder, and it was at
the end of its life cycle.”
According to Reynolds, several definitive
factors influenced the company
to make the investment earlier this year.
A primary driver was the fact that Caterpillar,
Inc. one of Will-Burt’s largest
customers—changed the finishing specifications
for its products to a two-coat
system. In addition, as the company
continued to grow, so did the average
number of color changes per day, eventually
“At 20 minutes per change, it was
killing us,” says Reynolds. “We needed
to drastically reduce that time and began
seeking a new system with the most efficient
color change possible.”
Out with the Old
After six months of research, Will-
Burt turned to Nordson Corporation,
Amherst, Ohio, to provide the powder
coating equipment that would become
the heart of their finishing operation.
Unlike its previous manual batch system,
Will-Burt’s new line introduced automation.
A two-booth system, it incorporates
an Excel® 3001 modular spray booth
equipped with 14 Encore® automatic
guns and two manual guns. The installation
also includes two ColorMax® lean
cell booths, with two manual Prodigy®
guns and color-on-demand capability.
Will-Burt uses the Excel automated
system to apply primer to the Caterpillar
products, reclaiming all the primer.
The ColorMax lean cell booth sprays 10
different colors with no reclaim, which
allows them to change colors in 30 seconds—
a huge improvement over the
sometimes-as-long-as 45-minute color
change required with the old system.
“Previously, Will-Burt was doing everything
spray to waste,” says Frank Mohar,
Nordson powder system specialist.
“The new powder coating line provides
the flexibility of automatic coating with
99 percent powder utilization by reclaiming
their larger-run colors. For smaller
runs, manual coating provides ultra-fast
30-second color change, which was a
very high priority for this customer.
With their new system, Will-Burt has also
doubled its line speed and reduced rejects
by 20 percent.”
In addition, the company added an
environmentally controlled room for conducting
its powder coating operation,
reducing contamination and improving
product quality. A new, single-level conveyor
system also improves throughput.
Operators can now hang parts more
densely and accommodate larger parts
than the previous two-level overhead
The new installation has been in place
since March 2013, and the company
has begun to reap the benefits of its new
“Nordson provided exactly the right
equipment to meet our goals, and equally
important, made this huge transition easier
with a high level of service and support,”
says Reynolds. “This investment reinforces
our commitment to providing the
best quality products and manufacturing
services to our customers.”
Sharon Spielman is editor of Powder Coated
Tough magazine. She can be reached via
email at: email@example.com.
For more information on the
companies mentioned in this article,
visit their web sites:
Norsdon Corporation www.nordson.com